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10 dictionary terms turning 50 years old in 2017

Alas, this article is not scratch and sniff. Bummer.

"Is the new year a bummer? Does it make you want to take some ibuprofen? Even a doofus will have a real laugh-in reading this piece we whipped up via word processing. Grab a hoagie and enjoy."

Yes, you probably would not have read that opening paragraph before the 1960s. In 1967, the Oxford English Dictionary entered 395 new definitions into its formidable reference volumes. This was not the first year these terms were used, rather the dictionary's earliest citation of the words. In other words, this slang became official English vernacular in 1967.

Some of the words come from television, some from science. They may surprise you.

1

bummer

Believe it or not, the OED's first citation of this surfer term is from a Joan Didion article in the Saturday Evening Post.

2

cheapo

When "cheap" just doesn't go far enough.

3

doofus

This is most likely a spin off from "goofus."

4

gomer

Indeed, this word is inspired by Gomer Pyle. Jim Nabors' character originated on The Andy Griffith Show and got his own spin-off in 1964. A few short years later, "gomer" came to mean any "inept or stupid colleague, especially a trainee." Poor, Gomer.

5

hoagie

You may call it a sub or grinder — or just plain "sandwich" — but if you're from Philly, you know it as a hoagie.

6

ibuprofen

The pain killer was discovered in 1961. Even in 1967, common folk probably were not using the word. The medicine wasn't marketed until the end of the 1960s.

7

laugh-in

Sock it to me! The title of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In was a play off all the "-ins" of the era — the love-ins, the sit-ins, etc. Laugh-In premiered as a special in 1967.

8

scratch and sniff

3M invented the technology in 1965. Thanks, 3M! You made our school stickers so much better in the 1970s.

9

tae kwan do

The Korean martial art was developed in the middle 20th century. In 1967, Burt Ward was showing off his black belt moves on Batman.

10

word processing

Oddly, this first definition just referred to using a typewriter. The term "word processor" would enter the dictionary in 1968. Today, electronic word processors are nearly forgotten in the computer age.

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